Americans will have heard of the holiday special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The half-hour episode has been televised yearly in the United States since 1965.
A few days before Christmas, a friend invited me to attend a concert featuring music from the special, whose score was composed by the late jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi. I jumped at the opportunity; what could be Christmassier than listening to “Christmas Time is Here” and “Linus and Lucy” from the program that I used to watch every year on my VHS tape?
The concert was held at a small music hall in the Lower East Side in New York. It was a simple set-up, with about a dozen rows of folding metal chairs. We showed up shortly before the start time and were the first ones there, so we sat in the second row. The John Lander Trio consisted of a pianist, a bass player, and a drummer. They were lovely to listen to and watch. During every song, I could picture the accompanying animated scene.
After intermission, the trio played other Christmas songs in a jazzy style, including “Jingle Bells” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” On a side note, the Empire State Building had a candy cane spire this year. Fancy.